With a rooftop pool and perfeclt location Thompson hotel in Playa del Carmen, gives a sexy alternative to the typical spring break style of Cancun and Playa
We've been to Playa Del Carmen and Cancun in the past, and as much as we love Mexico, have never been fans of the "party" scene the area typically attracts. The stunning beaches are filled with ordinary all-inclusive resorts that feature all you can eat buffets and drinks that aren't made with top-shelf liquor...not our style. Whether we're getting too old to accept anything less than the best, are just plain snobby or just too old for the party scene, we definitely prefer craft cocktails to all you can drink anything and great style over boring. Overall, we figured that Cancun and Playa del Carmen just weren't our thing—until we discovered the Thompson properties in the area.
I've always been a fan of Thompson hotels because of their ability to create unique, trendy atmospheres, that don't sacrifice comfort in the name of design. Thompson hotels always seem to have the best locations and manage to create a sense of sexy luxury wherever they are. No two Thompson properties are ever alike, making it extra fun to get to experience them because they each bring a little local flavor to the mix. For example, in Playa Del Carmen, there are actually two Thompson properties: Thompson Beach House is right on the beach, but Thompson Hotel is part of a commercial center, located a few blocks up on Quinta Avenida. Our spot was located at the Thompson on Quinta Avenida, famous for its restaurants, shopping, clubs and bars. Also, it runs parallel to the beach, so you have pretty much everything you can imagine within a few blocks.
About Playa Del Carmen
Although Playa Del Carmen has become a major tourism hotspot the last few years, thanks in part to its proximity to Cancun, it wasn't always such a party-centric destination. The port has made it a popular stop for cruise ships, as the area has not only beautiful beaches but lots of shopping. It's also well-known for its water activities, thanks to all the coral reefs in the area. If you love snorkeling or exploring, Playa Del Carmen is definitely a must visit destination. The likelihood of spotting rays, moray eels, sea turtles and other reef-dwelling creatures means that you pretty much have to hit the water...plus Cozumel is only a short ferry ride away, where some of the best diving in the world can be found! The area is super touristy because of all the resorts and cruise ships going into the port but you can also find off-the beaten path things to do just blocks away from the main Quinta Avenida shopping area.
About Thompson Hotel
The design of the hotel is such that it manages to fit into its surroundings. Located on a pedestrian street, the hotel's overall décor is glam 1950s but all the brightly colored knickknacks and accents ensure that you never forget that you are in the midst of Mexico. Because of the location, the hotel seems deceptively small at first, with just a small entryway and well-appointed lobby. It wasn't until we made it up to our floor that we realized that the place is really very spacious with 92 rooms, making it very good-sized for a boutique hotel. The design and layout make it seem even larger, as does the fact that it is set over a bunch of retail shops including MAC, H&M and Michael Kors.
As a perk of the Thompson's other nearby location, guests staying at either property have access to the amenities offered at each one. These include access to The Rooftop, which is where the hotel's pools and cabanas, clubs, bars, etc are located as well as access to the 24-hour Fitness Center, restaurants, etc. and everything else that you need for a completely indulgent experience.
What to Do at the Thompson Hotel
Because of the dual locations of the Thompson properties, you can do pretty much anything, from lounging on the beach at Thompson Beach House or the amazing pool at the rooftop deck to shopping in the retail shops that are on street level. You can also see all the way out to Cozumel Island. It's a 45-minute ferry ride away from the shore of Playa del Carmen, and well worth the trip, whether or not you're into diving. Tulum is also pretty close by, roughly an hour drive, so it can be a great full day trip if you tire of the beach life.
At night is the perfect time for shopping some of the local retailers. In between the shops are restaurants and bars, some of which are pretty good. A few of them are a little too clubby for our taste, but still kind of fun for people watching. Later in the evening, the Thompson rooftop pool area transforms into a club complete with DJs, if you happen to be into that sort of thing.
A top floor room, with a balcony is not a bad way to spend your time at the hotel. During our stay at the Thompson, we were in a luxury king top floor room, which gives views to the city below and the beach further away. The space was light and airy with touches of light woods and mid-century furniture and art. Minimal, sophisticated with a hint of glam is how I would describe the decor.
Our room was well-appointed and nice to come back to after a day of meandering and sightseeing. It was great to be able lay out and gaze at the view from the comfy day-bed on the balcony, but when we discovered that some of the other rooms had Jacuzzis on their balconies, we figured we need to make a return trip to experience them the next time.
Dining at Thompson Hotel
The Thompson has several dining options and is also surrounded by local restaurants, bars and cafes within walking distance, so you can switch up your options and never get bored. We would start each day of our stay with breakfast at Cinco's, a casual joint on the rooftop deck near the pool. Cinco's has juices, egg-white omelets and is also a good spot to enjoy poolside snacks or fish tacos for lunch.
For most of the day we'd hang out at the beach at Thompson Beach House, which is how I discovered that CGrill is my favorite restaurant in Playa. It's casual and beachy and sandy feet are welcome. The chef uses a wood oven to make local fish and produce into Mediterranean inspired dishes—my favorites were the falafel plate and grilled chicken skewers. I didn't satisfy my Mexican cravings, but we’ll save those for the taco stands and little cafes!
Dinnertime was usually at Catch, which is related to the Catch in NYC, so you know it comes from a good reputation. It's the perfect spot to grab cocktails for watching the sunset and enjoying delicious sushi. We opted for sushi with a few other bites--Definitely go with the crunchy rice cakes with tuna tartare and the fish tacos you won’t be disappointed!
How to Get There
We arrived at the Thompson from the Viceroy Rivera Maya, so it was just 15 minutes away via cab. Usually, most visitors will be heading in from the Cancun airport which you can take a shuttle or taxi and it's an hour and a half ride. The entrance to the hotel is on a pedestrian only street, so the cab drops you off and then you can walk with your luggage (totally not that bad), or call ahead to the hotel and they will have a porter meet you and help you with your stuff.
Now that there's a Thompson in town, and it has become a part of the local scene, we've changed our minds about Playa del Carmen. It's super exciting to find a Thompson in an unexpected spot and because the hotel is trendy without being too pigeonholed, you can stay there with friends for fun or a lover for some romance! The atmosphere is just sexy fun!
For more information about Thompson Hotel, Playa del Carmen, visit their website: